Having size 36H breasts by the time I was 15 years old made for a very unique experience growing up. I learned much too quickly that most bras weren’t made for me; neither were most clothes or most fair rides for that matter. I had trouble running in gym class unless I had on my $55 sports bra. To save myself the miserable experience that was bathing suit shopping, I conveniently never learned how to swim.
People made comments on my body every day, multiple times a day. Sometimes they were (supposed to be) compliments; girls saying they were jealous, boys giving me more attention than I ever dreamed was possible, and my adult family members saying how grown up I looked. Most of the time however, the attention I got was not positive. Girls said they would never want to have boobs as big as mine and told me that guys preferred small boobs. Grown men would hit on me, claiming that there was no way I was “that young with a body that adult.” My parents and teacher chastised me for wearing clothing that was too revealing, when in reality I was wearing the same dresses and v-necks every other girl my age was wearing. The difference was that my body, at 15 years old, was inherently inappropriate in the eyes of other people.
Whether they were positive or negative, I never asked for any comments on my body. I became so ashamed of my breasts that I started hiding them, wearing big shirts and sweatshirts even when it was 90 degrees outside.
The year I turned 18, I underwent breast reduction surgery. Although the main reason I chose surgery was because I suffered from crippling back pain and pinched nerves from the excessive weight on my upper body, it was no secret that my insecurities about my body were also a big part of my decision. Unsurprisingly, I received mixed feedback from my friends on my decision. Many of my female friends were congratulatory, as they had seen me struggle my entire young adult life. My male friends however, made comments like “Why would you mess with nature,” “God gave you a gift,” and my personal favorite, “Men everywhere are crying.”
Up until my surgery, my body had always belonged to other people. Because big boobs are, in a lot of circles, considered the “ideal,” people always felt as if they had the right to criticize my body openly and state their opinions on it. Before I even knew what it was, I was a target for body shaming. I made the decision to have the surgery in order to take control of my body back, to be happier and be healthier.
Even now, three years after surgery, I still get comments on my breast size. However now, I feel more confident in my body and recognize that the opinions other hold on it, positive or negative, should not affect the way I view my body. Sometimes I still look at girls who can wear strapless bras or no bras at all and I wish I had a different body, but I have also come to appreciate my breasts not because someone else does, but because they are mine.
And besides, having big boobs does has its advantages. I always have a place to put my cell phone.
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